Online gambling jurisdictions

The jurisdiction of an online gambling site or casino can be an important factor in determining how reputable the operators of the casino are, the transparency of the operation, and the recourse available to players should they have a dispute that cannot be settled with the casino.

What does the jurisdiction mean?
Simply put, it is the country or territory that the casino legally operates from. This does not necessarily mean that the casino is actually located there - in fact some jurisdictions only require a fee and some documents lodged by the operator.

Are all jurisdictions equal?
No. The jurisdictions commonly used by online casinos vary from first class organisations that enforce strict controls on player safety and the integrity of the gambling operator, through to "rubber-stamp" organisations in countries which do nothing more than offer a license to run any kind of business and a low tax rate.

Below we separate the jurisdictions according to our evaluation of their quality. Most are linked to a detailed page explaining the process required to gain a license in the jurisdiction and our evaluation of the level of player safety afforded by the jurisdiction, as well as a list of casinos operating from that jurisdiction.

Top tier gambling jurisdictions

These jurisdictions have demonstrated the best standards of regulation, player protection, and licensee auditing over a number of years. Players can play at casinos operating in these jurisdictions safe in the knowledge that they will be given a fair game and an independent arbiter should a dispute arise.

One note of caution - in recent times we have seen casinos that claim to be licensed in one of these jurisdictions when in actual fact they are not. If you are unsure please check with the licensing authority itself and do not rely on the claims of a dubious looking casino website featuring software you have never heard of before. Almost all licensing seals displayed on a casino website should be clickable and if clicked should load a page on the licensing authority's website displaying details of the casino's license. Non-clickable seals or seals that link internally or to any website other than the licensing authority should be viewed with skepticism.

Second tier gambling jurisdictions

These jurisdictions generally claim to uphold high standards of licensee vetting and player protection. However they each fall short of meeting the standards set by the top tier jurisdictions in one way or another. In most cases the casinos operating from these jurisdictions are professional operations, but there are always exceptions so our advice is to research the casino, read the reviews on our site, and make an informed decision before depositing your money at an online gambling site in one of these jurisdictions.

"Rubber stamp" gambling jurisdictions

These gambling jurisdictions offer players no protection whatsoever should there be a dispute with the casino. Furthermore they enforce little or no control over their licensees. In some cases the authorities only offer general purpose business licenses, as opposed to an actual online gambling license, and there are no checks into the character or history of the owners of the casinos.

There are good casinos operating out of these jurisdictions but they are few and far between. We urge players to exercise extreme caution and advise you to do your research before handing over your money to a casino operating out of one of these jurisdictions.